BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan – The U.S. military awarded six Purple Heart medals Friday to soldiers who were wounded in the ongoing offensive against al-Qaida in eastern Afghanistan.
The simple ceremony honored those serving in the 10th Mountain and the 101st Airborne Divisions who were taking part in Operation Anaconda, the U.S.-led attack on al-Qaida strongholds in the mountains south of Gardez.
"I'm just happy that everyone made it out of there," said Sgt. Taji Moore, 25, of Moreno Vother soldier during a mortar attack.
Others honored included Capt. William Ryan, 29, an Apache helicopter pilot who was injured when a round struck the canopy of his helicopter. Ryan's hometown was not available.
Ryan flew a combat mission the next day, said Maj. Paul Fitzpatrick, the spokesman for 101st in Fort Campbell, Ky.
Others awarded the Purple Heart included Sgt. 1st Class Robert H. Healy, 34, of Michigan (hometown not available); Sgt. James Rissler, 24, Newark, Ohio; Sgt. David Smith, 25, Mantua, N.J.; and Sgt. William Sakisat, age and hometown not available.